By Tony Magliano
I have been blacklisted by the Ukrainian government.
The Center for Countering Disinformation, an agency of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine – which advises the president of Ukraine – has compiled a list of over 78 international figures who are accused of promoting so-called “Russian propaganda.” And I happen to be included on that list (see: https://bit.ly/3zQopiD and https://bit.ly/3SKyDty).
Now that begs the question: Why is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist on such a list? Well, I don’t exactly know why. But I have pretty good hunch.
Just a few days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I participated in an international Zoom conference hosted by the Schiller Institute – which sought to warn against possible imminent nuclear war, and to inspire a fresh non-violent, just, egalitarian approach to the never-ending wars and economic injustices experienced by the world’s poor and disenfranchised. My small contribution was a concise presentation entitled, “War is not inevitable! We have a moral obligation to save Afghans from starving! The need to create a new, human-centered paradigm.”
In my presentation, I highlighted the moral necessity of the U.S. – considering its 20-year history of waging war in Afghanistan – to significantly increase emergency and ongoing developmental aid to Afghanistan ensuring that all Afghans, especially the children, do not starve to death – a tragedy still unfolding. Additionally, I attempted to highlight the obvious catastrophe of the imminent war between Russia and Ukraine, hoping to help avoid that preventable armed conflict. Also, I urged for a new economic, political, and societal global model that replaces corporate greed, indifference, and raw military power with total respect for all human life and human dignity (to view my presentation please go to the 1:32 and 2:16 minute marks of panel 2 of this conference link https://schillerinstitute.com/blog/2022/02/18/conference-100-seconds-to-midnight-on-the-doomsday-clock-we-need-a-new-security-architecture/).
Some of the speakers participating in this and other Schiller Institute conferences have been intellectually critical of certain aspects of the Ukrainian government, as well as U.S. and NATO designs on Ukraine. For example, the apparent openness of NATO to the future possibility of Ukraine becoming an actual member of their military alliance, even though Ukraine borders the Russian Federation.
So, my hunch is that because I was a participant in a Schiller Institute conference, and because in a few of my columns I have been critical of the U.S. and NATO pumping billions of dollars’ worth of weapons into Ukraine – which is helping to fuel the war, not end it, and is lining the pockets of weapon producing corporations like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing (see: https://www.scross.co.za/2022/05/wars-deadly-distractions/) – Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation has decided that I am a promoter of “Russian propaganda.”
But truth be told, I am a promoter of the nonviolent Gospel of Jesus Christ!
As illustrated in the war between Russia and Ukraine, armed conflicts, and violence of all sorts, are tools of the devil. Christians need to relearn the Gospel truth that the words and example of the Lord Jesus always clearly oppose the use of violence.
The late preeminent theologian and biblical scholar, Fr. John McKenzie said, “If Jesus does not reject violence for any reason, we do not know anything about Jesus. Jesus taught us not how to kill but how to die.”
Saint Pope John Paul powerfully said, “Violence is evil, that violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems, that violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, the freedom of human beings.”
Tony Magliano (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist and speaker. He is not a member of the AUSCP. His point of view is his own and not necessarily that of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests.